Hola! Buenos Dias etc etc
As Bryn from Gavin and Stacey would say (apply Welsh accent here,) "I´m not gonna lie to you, I can´t speak Spanish."
Right, it´s day 7 of my 13 day adventure here in Ecuador, visiting everything Camps. I have just returned from 4 nights at Camp Amazonia which is based in a small Quechua Community called Rio Blanco. Rio Blanco is about an hour away from Tena, and most of this journey is passed on a relatively new "road" - I say "road" as it is mostly a bunch or roacks that some diggers have chucked down in a haphazard manner, in order that the small communities based in the depths of the jungle are better able to get to town in order to buy and sell their goods. It is a bumpy ride.
My journey from Quito to Rio Blanco took about 4 hours in total and we passed some breathtaking scenery. It was literally breathtaking as we climbed steadily to an altitude of roughly 3000m, before dropping down to just 500m and into the jungle.
- Camps visited - 2 (Camp Maqui and Camp Amazonia)
- Nosebleeds due to altitude - 5
- Beers - still 3 ( you´ve gotta be professional)
- Hilarious one sided conversations with friendly Ecuadorians - 15
- Jungle treks - 1 (sweaty)
- Guinea pigs consumed - 0 (that I know of)
So Camp Amazonia is pretty special. It is private and secluded, yet close to a small, frienly and welcoming community, and there is lots of great work to be done by our volunteers. On the day I arrived the group of gap year volunteers were completeing a fish pond which they had been digging. The fish pond was requested by the community so that they may have better acess to fish, so to improve the diets of the children, who are suffering from mal-nutrition. The volunteers were completely knackered, and mostly a kind of Umpa Lumpa orange colour from the clay, but they pressed on regardless and completed the fish pond by Friday.
This weekend the group went on a rafting and trekking expedition. Starting on Saturday at about 13:00 we divided between two white water rafts and 6 Kayaks, and set off on a 5 hour river ride, going through rapids and then enjoying the steady flow of the Napo river. We camped on a beach and gaudged on a feast of pasta and salad! We put up our tents which, wasn´t straight forward in the ever darkening evening, and then settled around a camp fire. The following day we continued down the river for about an hour, before being directed to some narrow steps carved out of mud. This is where the jungle trek began.
We walked for about 3 hours through thick jungle, and Jimena (the Assistant Camp Manager) and me only got sepparated from the entire group once, so that was pretty good going we though. The thing is we saw tracks and so went in search of the exotic animal, and consequently we got sepparated from the group. With a bit of calm yelling and howling we eventually got found by the guide and brought back to the correct path. Such fun!
Due to the adventurous nature of this weekend expedtion and our close proximity to water, I left my camera at Camp, so as to avoid any potential damage coming to it. It was a great shame not to get any photos of this trip, but I have clear and colourful images in my mind of the jungle and the river, and the guides that looked after us and taught us things along the way. Just go yourself and then you´ll see what I´m not doing very well at describing to you. Camps International happens to run a wonderful trip here. HAHA!!
Now that the fish pond project has been completed the group will be commencing the improvement of a footpath that runs alongside the river. I have been speaking a lot with the Camps Ecuador team and they have so many important projects in the pipe line with the community at Rio Blanco, and I look forward to hearing about the progress that is made in the coming months.
I now have a few days of independent travel, and what with my extensive grasp of Spanish, it should all be fine. Bueno! I will be visiting Cotopaxi on Wednesday and after that I am heading north to Otovalo. Products made from Alpaca wool - here I come.
Well it´s been a dream, I hope it may continue. See ya´ll on the flip side.
Insert cheesy pic of me here!